Dear Chinese brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Before I greet you with three Divine Words, referring to our Holy Trinity, one eternal God, at the already opened gate of time 2024, allow me three personal words and thoughts.
Since 2010, I have become more and more familiar with the life of Christianity in your highly cultural country. A recurring appeal in my sermons, lectures and writings: Throw your observant eyes on China, because it will be one of the defining countries of the future of Christianity. In my silences before God and during my comparative religious research, God developed in me the insight that the Lord of history and our Savior Jesus Christ brought the third world era of church history, the pneumatic age of the Holy Spirit. Today, China is starting to come to the fore in the world statistics of Christianity in terms of the number of Christians living in a country. This requires great responsibility and a strong faith commitment, as well as responsible action from you all.
The Christianity of the future is shaped and guided by the Word and Holy Spirit of our heavenly Father on the path of witnessing. Therefore, we must not give in to the divisive work of Satan, the Devil, or to the incitement of contradictions between religious or Christian groups. Have the holy convictions: closer to Christ, closer to each other.
I really appreciate the high level of philosophical wisdom in Chinese history, the contemplative immersion in the secrets of nature, history, and especially God. This peculiar Chinese way of life has been around for thousands of years. This is a huge treasure, a value! Your ancestors shaped the culture of respect, diligence, and inner peace thousands of years ago, and brought up the new generations to do so. Do not give up this the demand and transmission of the high-order spiritual culture, for which our Lord Jesus came to Earth, died and rose again. He also brought to you the love culture of active love, of homo christianus, homo humanus. In the age of artificial intelligence, there will be an even greater need for personal, neighborly Christianity that preserves human warmth. Be the evangelists and guardians of love and of the culture of reconciliation, of humanity's only viable form of existence. Closer to Christ, closer to each other, so that people feel the warm watch fires of your hearts, words, and behavior.
Therefore, I am first sending you the Bible reading guide of the Herrnhut fraternal community, Losung, who is in his 294th year, the highlighted Word for 2024 with a heart wishing for a blessing: Let all your work be done in love (1 Cor 16:14).
In our European Christianity, in our half-thousand-year-old Protestant faith in Hungary, the strength of religious conviction has become a nation-guarding and country-building force. Paul's beautiful confession is a sustaining resource today and tomorrow during all persecution, discrimination, war, and family breakdowns: If God is with us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31).
Let us look up to Jesus, the author and fulfiller of faith! (Hebrews 12:2), since He is the only authority for the Christian believer. While the universe is full of masters, it has only one servant, Jesus! He is the King of humility, turn your spiritual eyes to him and walk your ways in 2024 this way.
I think of you with a prayerful heart, and I pray for you in Budapest/Hungary.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Dr. Lajos Békefy Ph.D.
Protestant Pastor, writer, world religion researcher